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“Virology in a Pandemic”: Veteran virologist’s presentation to kick off spring seminar series

(Broken Arrow, Oklahoma) – A virologist with more than four decades of experience in the field will kick off the spring 2021 Virtual Biology & Chemistry Seminar Series on Friday.

Dr. Vincent Racaniello, a Higgins Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, will present “Virology in a Pandemic” on Feb. 5 from 11 a.m. to noon. The virtual series is presented by the NSU Gregg Wadley College of Science & Health Professions and arranged by Dr. Sapna Das-Bradoo, NSU associate professor of molecular biology.

“Virology in a Pandemic” will cover Racaniello’s career in virology as well as the COVID-19 pandemic and how it's been communicated. 

Racaniello said he and co-hosts began covering the outbreak multiple times a week on his podcast “This Week in Virology”. He said his audience exploded with people seeking accurate information about the virus and outbreak. Since then, they have recorded three times a week with every episode being on the pandemic.

Racaniello has more than four decades of experience working with viruses following his belief that scientists must communicate their work to the public.

 “While working as a technician in a microbiology lab, I read “Fever” by John Fuller, an account of the discovery of Lassa virus in Nigeria during the ‘60s,” Racaniello said. “That got me hooked on virology.”

Racaniello's research has resulted in the production of the first infectious clone of an RNA virus, the discovery of the cell receptor for poliovirus, and the establishment of a transgenic mouse model for poliomyelitis. He has also co-authored a virology textbook, distributed videocasts of his virology lectures online, written a blog about viruses, and produced podcasts on viruses, parasites, bacteria, evolution, and immunology.

He has served as editor for the Journal of Virology, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and PLoS Pathogens. In addition, he was a member of the WHO Steering Committee on Hepatitis/Polio, chair of the NIH Virology Study Section, co-chair of the Gordon Conference on Viruses and Cells and president of the American Society for Virology.

Throughout his career, Racaniello has received a number of awards for his work including being named a recipient of an Irma T. Hirschl Career Scientist Award, the Searle Scholars Award, the Eli Lilly Award of the American Society for Microbiology and an NIH Merit Award.

Also participating as part of the seminar series are: Ms. Madison Thomas from the Tulsa Health Department; Dr. Julio Morales from the Department of Cell Biology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences; Dr. Daniel Ostmo from the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences; and Dr. Ashish Ranjan from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University.

The seminars are free and open to the public. Each one-hour lecture begins at 11 a.m. virtually via Zoom. For more information on the series, contact Das-Bradoo at dasbrado@nsuok.edu or visit www.nsuok.edu/BCSeries.